Dr. Stanley Aronson

Dr. Stanley AronsonJoan Rivers tells her audiences that a Jewish mother doesn’t consider her child to have reached maturity until he or she receives the M.D. degree. The claim is either a gross exaggeration or, at the least, a modest stretching of the truth. Back in the 1930s, in the midst of a  world gone awry, Jewish mothers would pray that Roosevelt would be reelected, that Hitler would die of cancer and that their oldest child would be accepted to medical school.

Dr. Stanley Aronson

The Catskill Mountains first appeared on European maps in the early years of the 17 century as maritime nations aggressively sought mercantile bases in the Western hemisphere. The merchants of Amsterdam, in 1602, were granted a charter for a transnational organization called the Dutch West India Company. The charter gave these entrepreneurs a monopoly over trade with the islands of the West Indies (Caribbean) but also rights to seek a northwest passage to Asia – and to exercise regional control of the slave traffic.

Dr. Stanley AronsonThe newly-placed wall calendar in the dentist’s waiting room in Providence declares the year to be 2014; but if one reckons by the Hebrew calendar, the year is 5774; by the Mayan calendar, 5133; by the Buddhist calendar, 2558; by the old Imperial Roman (Julian) calendar, 2,767; and by the Islamic calendar, 1434.

Dr. Stanley AronsonWilliam Shakespeare, who survived to age 54, probably knew little of the cognitive deficits that sometimes accompany advanced aging. In fact, in his era, organic dementia of the elderly was not considered to be a public health problem meriting much attention.

One of his tragedies, however, provides us with a poet’s perception of the contentious interaction, in an aging monarch, between inordinate pride and encroaching senility. Shakespeare, with no known training in neuropsychiatry, wrote an immortal drama, “The Tragedy of King Lear,” performed on December 26, 1606, published in London in 1608 and revised for the First Folio in 1623.

Dr. Stanley AronsonThe time: A mid-December weekend, 1935, on a residential street in inner Brooklyn. Two 14-year-old youngsters inspect the thin layer of snow covering the streets and decide that this is not a good day for roller-skating. They then glance in both directions seeking some alternative. Nobody is tossing a football and nobody is playing handball against the brick wall of the abandoned factory, which leaves little choice but to talk.